Chandler voters will decide whether city council members can remain in office for one more term during the fall election.
The Chandler City Council proposed an amendment to the city charter during its June 26 meeting that would increase the number of consecutive four-year terms a council member can serve from two to three. The issue will appear on the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election.
The amendment was proposed by Councilmember Jack Sellers with the hope of bringing Chandler more in line with the term limits of other cities like Tempe, which has no term limit. The increase in term limits could also potentially help keep beneficial members of the city council in office for longer.
“This started a couple of years ago when we were looking at a couple of council members who would be termed out that we really felt we’d like to see continue on a council that was doing some really great things,” Sellers said. “The voters really ought to have a choice of whether or not to keep these folks or not rather than having a rule that says ‘we need to protect the voters so that they won’t continue to elect people that aren’t that good.’ ”
But that is where Councilmember Jeff Weninger sees a potential problem. Weninger, who is running for the Arizona Legislature, is one of two council members, along with Trinity Donovan, due to term out. The problem, he said, stems from the incumbency advantage that makes it easier for incumbents to get re-elected.
“We have the best council I’ve ever worked with; they’re all very good people and very good at their jobs,” Weninger said. “But I don’t always look at things in the current form … you have to look at the unintended consequences 10 years from now and the fact is, 10 years from now, we could have people up there who aren’t very good and who are doing bad things for the city and at that point, you’re making it easier for them to stay on through the power of incumbency.”
The Chandler Chamber of Commerce is also on board with the idea of extending the number of terms for council members and included it in the 2014 edition of its booklet, “How We Stand.” The booklet contains different information on how to improve the Chandler economy.
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